A claim that the Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035 should be removed from the UN's benchmark scientific climate change study, an Australian lead author of the report says.
But Professor David Karoly, who is listed as a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 report, said the ''failure of the review process'' does not mean that the main findings of the report - that carbon emissions by humans are warming the planet - are unreliable.
The controversy was sparked by a story in New Scientist this month which revealed the source of the 2035 date was comments by an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, in a 1999 interview in the same magazine.
The article was then picked up by the WWF in a 2005 report on glacial melting, which is the only reference in the IPCC report for the 2035 date.
This month Mr Hasnain said he has never used the 2035 date in any peer-reviewed scientific literature and that he had only been talking about parts of the Himalayan glaciers.
The IPCC reference to the 2035 date is contained in a three-paragraph case study in chapter 10 of the report which focuses on the effects of climate change in Asia.
Professor Karoly yesterday told the Herald the sentence should never have got into the IPCC fourth assessment report.
He said the next line in the case study, along with other parts of the main body of the report, contained much more accurate information about the rate and effects of glacial melts - contradicting the inaccurate 2035 prediction.
''It shows there may be some minor errors in the report that will be corrected from time to time, but it is only a tiny reference in a 3000-page document and does not cast doubt on the main findings of the report,'' Professor Karoly said
The Opposition energy spokesman, Nick Minchin, a climate change sceptic, said the report highlighted the ''disturbing'' lack of scientific rigour around the IPCC 2007 report.
"These revelations provide even further evidence of the Rudd Government's recklessness in relying on dubious reports such as this as part of its scare campaign to push the urgent need to introduce a CPRS [emissions trading scheme] ahead of the world," Senator Minchin said.